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LAist: Placenta | Here’s What You Should Know About One of the Most Important Organs

LAist program AirTalk recently interviewed Margareta Pisarska, MD, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai, about how the placenta could affect a baby’s health, even as they age.

The placenta is a temporary organ that develops during pregnancy to supply oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby. It also removes waste, provides immune protection and produces hormones needed for development.

Pisarska told AirTalk host Larry Mantle that she is studying the placenta during the first trimester of pregnancy and after delivery.

“We can use those two time points to get an evaluation of how the placenta changes throughout gestation and what its functions are at these different time points,” Pisarska said.

Pisarska told Mantle about research into how the mother’s immune system works via the placenta, which might differ depending on the sex of the fetus.

“What we are interested in is to see if that translates further on into childhood and adulthood because we do know that certain autoimmune diseases differ between males and females,” Pisarska said. “Some women are at increased risk of … lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, whereas males are more prone to autoimmune diseases … of the bone and tendons.”

Pisarska told Mantle that there are ways to ensure a mother develops a healthy placenta, starting months before a mother even becomes pregnant. 

“We could do … some preconception counseling, make sure they’re taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy and minimizing [potentially harmful environmental] exposures,” she said.

Click here to listen to the entire segment from LAist.